There are a million reasons to travel to Cuba and plunge into the bustling streets of Old Havana, a trip to the past steeped in history that will captivate you from the first second. Its light, music, flavours and colours are the gateway to a unique country you will never forget. 42 strides steeped in history, 42 strides at a marathon pace.
Havana wakes up calm and early, with the only faint sounds being the first fishermen heading out to sea on their boats to make a living. The majestic National Capitol, which has stood in the heart of Havana since 1929, will salute the thousands of runners who take the start of the Marabana on 22 November. Old Havana and its colonial architecture are a legacy of the 1960s and a reminder of the country’s traditional hustle and bustle, which can still be seen today.
Heading towards El Prado street, the first kilometre of the race will take participants to the iconic Museum of the Revolution. Built in 1959, it is home to all sorts of exhibits on the Cuban Revolution and its leading figures, nurturing the living memory of these watershed events.
A section on Avenida de las Misiones will lead the field to the famous and popular Malecón. The vast horizon and the chromatic decadence of its facades will transport us to the best movie backdrop for 7 kilometres on the seafront. It is well worth a visit in the evening: couples gazing at the sunset together, children plunging into the sea from the rocks, the sound of music in the distance and fishermen landing the last catches of the day.
From km 8 to km 15, the marathon will take runners down 12th and 23rd streets, 26th Avenue, Boyeros and Santa Catalina, blasting past the Zoo on the way to Manuel Fajardo University. Internationally hailed as the University of Cuban Sport, 90% of Cuba’s Olympic champions have studied here.
Three kilometres later, history becomes tangible… Plaza de la Revolución, built on top of the old Loma de los catalanes, has a surface area of over 72,000 square metres. The sculpture of Che Guevara on the facade of the Ministry of the Interior, the words Hasta la victoria siempre and the monument to José Martí, rising to over 112 metres above ground level, will transport us back to the time of the Cuban Revolution, when huge crowds filled the plaza and the people was enthralled by the never-ending speeches of Fidel Castro, Che Guevara’s loyal comrade-in-arms.
The final 4 km to the finish line of the half marathon (and the first of the two laps of the Marabana) will see runners beat the tarmac on Salvador Allende and Reina streets on their way to Paseo del Prado, where the loop course ends next to the Capitol.
42 strides steeped in history and places charming beyond words, 42 strides at a marathon pace.